by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA
Umpire Scott McLaren has announced his retirement from AFL ranks. McLaren began his AFL career in 1994 and, through Round 22, has umpired in 364 games. He will finish his career in fourth place on the all-time League umpiring list. Ahead of him are Darren Goldspink (371 games), Rowan Sawers (410 games) and current umpire Hayden Kennedy (478 games through Round 22). McLaren has officiated in 34 finals games which include the 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Grand Finals. He was also named All-Australian umpire in 2001.
Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release; AFL Season Guide 2010, aflua.com.au
Richmond's Graham Polak, who has played just three senior games this season, has decided to retire. Polak, who fought his way back from a serious head trauma suffered in 2008, was knocked out and suffered a concussion in a mid-season game and was not able to regain his form since then. Polak said that a TV program he saw recently about brain damage suffered by players in other codes led him to the decision to call it quits. He decided a decent quality of life with his future partner and children was more important than football. However he did not rule out the possibility of playing at a lower level with a local club.
Polak, 26, sustained brain damage as the result of being hit by a tram in July 2008. He was delisted by the Tigers and redrafted as a rookie. He spent most of 2009 recovering and playing in the VFL. He played two senior games late in 2009.
In announcing his retirement, Polak said he was proud of the way he was able to defy the doubters and fight his way back to senior football. He said that the support he received from family, friends, the Richmond football club and supporters had been crucial to his recovery. He was well aware that his future had been uncertain with the Tigers and said that he felt good about leaving the game on his own terms.
He was originally drafted by Fremantle and played 73 games from 2002 to 2006. The Dockers traded him to Richmond where he played 73 games in five seasons.
North Melbourne's Round 22 game was the last for forward Corey Jones, who had been languishing in the VFL for most of the season. According to Coach Brad Scott, Jones was not selected "... for sentimental reasons ...". Lachlan Hansen was out injured and Jones' form in the VFL warranted a senior recall. Scott said that while the 29 year old Jones had shown good form in the VFL for much of the season, other players were selected because they were ahead of him on form. Jones himself was accepting of the fact that the club's preferred option was to give younger players a chance.
Jones debuted in 2001 and Round 22 was his 157th game. Prior to Round 22, he had 213 goals to his name. He topped the club's goal kicking list in 2007 with 46 goals but missed the semi-final and preliminary final that year due to a foot injury. That injury limited his 2008 preseason although he still managed 33 goals in 19 games that year. Jones played just ten games in 2009.
Article last changed on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - 7:27 AM EDT